What is Somatics?

By Dave MacDougall.

Somatics is a term coined by Dr. Thomas Hanna to describe a field of study and practice that focuses on a person’s own ability to use internal awareness to improve physical function. Based on his studies in neurophysiology, biofeedback, yoga and the Feldenkrais method, Hanna devised a self-care routine he called the “Daily Cat Stretch” which he presented in his book, Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health (1988).

Habitual muscular tension is at the heart of a wide range of health problems from chronic pain syndromes such as backache and headache to a variety of arthritic complaints. We know muscles have no will of their own, so we can see that the problem lies not in the muscles themselves, but is instead a consequence of deficient regulation and control. This functional deficit in the nervous system’s management of muscle function represents a lack of voluntary control that cannot be remedied by any amount of structural reengineering. Change must come from the inside out.

In other words, the illnesses of hypertonicity are not medical problems needing treatment, but instead are sensory-motor problems requiring somatic education. Since studying with Dr. Hanna in 1990 Dave MacDougall has taught the “Cat Stretch” and other somatic exercises to over 3000 people desiring to prevent or eliminate chronic muscle/joint pain and stiffness.

Mark your calendar and register today for Dave’s Intro Workshop “What is Somatics?” at One Big Roof on Sat. Oct. 13th, 10:30-11:30am. Then, on Saturday, Nov. 3rd, join us for “Somatic Self-Care,” and learn an easy-to-practice set of somatic exercises that will enable you to reduce unwanted muscle tension and restore/maintain comfort and ease of movement with 10-15 minutes a day of pleasurable movements. Then, on Dec. 1st, Dave teaches us “A Somatic Approach to Better Breathing.”

David MacDougall, MA, LMT, is a certified Hanna Somatic Educator specializing in intelligent self-care for the reversal/prevention of muscle/joint pain. Contact Dave to register.

One Roof Welcomes Clinical Psychologist Dr. Dana Lau.

This month we welcome a new clinical psychologist to One Roof, Dr. Dana Lau. Her specialty is adolescent therapy, and she treats families and adults as well. Her practice includes DBT and mindfulness, so she is a great fit with all of us here. Her complete bio is on our website, and she accepting new patients at this time. Feel free to reach out to her directly to schedule an appointment.

Rx: Healthy Heart

Rx: Healthy Heart by Dave MacDougall.

An enormous amount of energy has been spent on research for a better means of preventing/treating cardiovascular disease, the #1 cause of death. Reliance on medical saviors obscures the simple fact that our own breathing habits may be the most important determinant of coronary health. This failure to recognize the value of learning to breathe more fully is unfortunate because we are thereby forfeiting a powerful means of maintaining heart health.

Efficient breathing requires effortless expansion of the thoracic area drawing air into the lungs. Muscle tension in any of the muscles which affect the ribs and breastbone reduce expansion. For example, many adults hold their abdominal muscles tight on inhalation, thus inhibiting the depth of thoracic movement. The shallow more rapid breathing style produced causes hyperventilation syndrome, characterized by elevations in blood pressure.

Essential hypertension (80-90% of cases) is persistently high blood pressure not due to any identifiable medical pathology. Hypertension is associated with substantially increased risks of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes. The links between habitually shallow breathing, chronic high blood pressure and the incidence of cardiovascular disease are well known.

We can learn to improve our respiratory habits, breathe easier and reduce our disease risk. A field of study and practice known as Somatics has developed in recent years, as discoveries in neuroscience and biofeedback have shed light on the internal self-regulatory abilities demonstrated by students of so-called “mind-body” disciplines (yoga etc.). A wealth of learning in methods of intelligent self-care and healing await those willing to take responsibility for their own well-being.

David MacDougall, MA, LMT, is a certified Hanna Somatic Educator specializing in intelligent self-care for the reversal/prevention of muscle/joint pain.
Dave will offer an intro to Somaticcs Self-Care class at One Big Roof on January 20th
and a special Somatic Approach to Better Breathing on February 24th
Contact Dave to register.

 

Intro to SOMATICS

By Dave MacDougall.

Somatics is a term coined by Dr. Thomas Hanna to describe a field of study and practice that focuses on a person’s own ability to use internal awareness to improve physical function. Based on his studies in neurophysiology, biofeedback, yoga and the Feldenkrais method, Hanna devised a self-care routine he called the “Daily Cat Stretch” which he presented in his book Somatics: Reawakening the Mind’s Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health (1988).

Habitual muscular tension is at the heart of a wide range of health problems from chronic pain syndromes such as backache and headache to a variety of arthritic complaints. We know muscles have no will of their own, so we can see that the problem lies not in the muscles themselves, but is instead a consequence of deficient regulation and control. This functional deficit in the nervous system’s management of muscle function represents a lack of voluntary control that cannot be remedied by any amount of structural reengineering. Change must come from the inside out.

In other words, the illnesses of hypertonicity are not medical problems needing treatment, but instead are sensory-motor problems requiring somatic education. Since studying with Dr. Hanna in 1990 Dave MacDougall has taught the “Cat Stretch” and other somatic exercises to over 3000 people desiring to prevent or eliminate chronic muscle/joint pain and stiffness.

Mark your calendar and register today for Dave’s “Intro to Somatics” workshop at One Big Roof on Sat. Oct. 28th, 12-4pm. Learn an easy to practice set of somatic exercises that will enable you to reduce unwanted muscle tension and restore/maintain comfort and ease of movement with 10-15 minutes a day of pleasurable movements.

David MacDougall, MA, LMT, is a certified Hanna Somatic Educator specializing in intelligent self-care for the reversal/prevention of muscle/joint pain.

Some answers lie just beneath the surface…

Readings with James Orzano at One Roof are a guided exploration into self-awareness and self-discovery. Each reading is a unique experience that can reveal the deeper inner meanings behind issues that are presenting themselves on a mental, physical, and spiritual level.

Each Reading begins with a discussion about the client’s issues and a clarification of the intention for the Reading. Then a spread is created using the Osho Tarot Cards. This layout serves as a portal into the client’s energy field and provides James with a template for gaining insights that can identify hidden clues, which can help them “connect the dots” about difficult challenges they are facing. Since the client selects their own cards, the layout is a direct reflection of what they have been unable or unwilling to recognize or accept.

James provides a guided interpretation of the Reading and generates a clear picture of the client’s present situation, with suggestions about how to move through the obstacles that have been standing in the way of growth and change. The emphasis of the Reading is not on prophecy or divination. Instead, the Readings focus on the “here and now” and encourage the client to embrace their potential for transformation and empowerment to shape their future by accepting the need for change.

With over 20 years of experience offering Readings, James is able to create a safe space for clients to fully immerse themselves in the energy of the Reading experience. He is an empath who is a compassionate and gifted intuitive channel. With a no-nonsense commitment to truth, James brings humor and wisdom to the deep and introspective realms of personal growth.

One Roof welcomes new practitioner!

One Roof welcomes psychotherapist Stephanie Armer (LCSW). Stephanie is currently accepting new patients at our 58 Henry St. offices. Stephanie has been in the social work field for over 13 years. She provides a structured and safe environment in which clients feel comfortable identifying goals and working towards a more positive and fulfilling life experience. She collaborates with clients to identify and build on their preexisting strengths, develop and utilize coping mechanisms, and increase mindfulness. Stephanie strives to enable clients to embrace and cultivate these strengths utilizing strength-based therapies, while creating a treatment approach that meets the individual needs of the client or family.

She uses a dynamic approach in her work, using a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), along with strength-based techniques. Stephanie works with adolescents, adults, couples and families to provide support in a therapeutic setting. She has particular interest and experience in working with adolescents and adults struggling with depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, family conflict, and trauma. Visit our Practitioners’ Page for complete contact info.

Reflect and Refresh, by Pierre Zimmerman.

We call ourselves human beings, but we might as well say we are human doings. Most of our time is spent in work projects, relationship management, and related details. Reflection allows us to explore and discern which thoughts and actions will contribute to the services that make any system flourish. Reflection provides a platform to redirect the focus needed for interventions to turn things around for the well being of the individuals and the company with which they are associated.

Pierre Zimmerman Director One Big RoofMeditation, a focus on emotional intelligence and mindful practices in the workplace, can create more balance between doing and being. Reflective awareness maintains integrity, commitment and alignment with the goals of the organization. Social competencies determine how we manage relationships, leverage diversity, influence and build a web of relationships, become change catalysts and enhance cooperation and team building.

About fifteen years ago as the executive director of a specialty hospital, I would invite staff to honor a minute of silence before starting meetings. At first people reacted to having their mental models challenged, but over time people were able to re-set their breath in a natural rhythm and their bodies and minds into a state of regulated functioning: calm abiding. It gave them time to reflect, to bring awareness to their emotions and figure out how to proceed with the agenda items in a manner that provided more stability, flexibility, curiosity and coherence. Meetings became attractive and rewarding!

Reflection is important for understanding ourselves and others. It enhances efficiency and because of this, outcomes are more productive. Victor Frankl, who survived many atrocities in concentration camps, was once asked how he was able to integrate all he witnessed. This was his response: “Between every stimuli and response there is a pause and in that pause lies freedom.” The pause is the refresh. We even have a bio-pause between every in-breath and out-breath. Frankl figured out in the midst of exceptionally extreme conditions and an unsafe environment how to resource himself.

We all need, in our daily busy lives, to call on ways that allow us to recharge our batteries and observe the world from a different perspective. These can include reflection, physical exercise, playtime, hobbies, artistic endeavors and volunteer activities. It is paused time that allows us to move beyond ourselves and embrace passionate activities for not only ourselves, but also everyone’s benefit around us.

Kids are given a “time out” when they cannot stop unwholesome behavior or don’t know when to rest or move on to the next moment. We as adults need to choose and determine a “down time” to replenish ourselves and become more resilient. Self-care keeps us healthy and activates loving kindness for ourselves and non-referential compassion for others.

PIERRE ZIMMERMAN IS DIRECTOR OF ONE BIG ROOF AND AN INSTRUCTOR WITH THE SARATOGA STRESS REDUCTION PROGRAM. This essay recently appeared in the Saratoga Chamber of Commerce “Workplace Wellness Guide.”

Back to School?

Back to School: Yippee – Oh No
Simple Ways That Mindfulness Can Help,
by Maura FoxMauraFox2016

The air is changing and the days are getting shorter. We all know what that means. It’s time to go back to school. Maybe your child is going to pre-school, kindergarten, college or anywhere in between, and your emotions can shift all over the map. On one hand, you may be excited that you can get back to a routine–the big calendar showing where everyone is to be and when. On the other hand, it can be overwhelming and exhausting. The first few days are often filled with endless forms that need to be completed with the same information from the last 5 years, signing permissions for internet and photo releases and then the endless list of supplies, “No, it has to be a RED NOTEBOOK, the teacher said so.” How about the not so obvious emotions: fear, helplessness, loneliness, worry? We send our children off with the hope that they will be cared for and nurtured throughout their day.

I remember putting my daughter on the bus on the first day of 5th grade, the last year of elementary school. No big deal, I went to work. On the way the song Runaway Train, by Soul Asylum was playing and I started to cry. The only thing I heard was “runaway train never going back…” There she was, my little 5th grader, her last year in elementary school, next year its off to middle school then high school, college, marriage, children. We laugh about it now, but at the time I did not know about mindfulness and living in the present moment non-judgmentally. I had her all grown up and leaving me for good. Notice that– leaving “me.” It was all about me back then, but that’s a story for another time.

Jon-Kabat Zinn, Professor of Medicine and creator of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, defines mindfulness as “the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment”. Mindfulness is a practice that allows us to let go of worry and release ourselves from judgment. It is an in-the-moment awareness and acceptance of thoughts and feelings.

Mindfulness is good for us. It allows us to be present in our parenting, choosing our response instead of having a knee-jerk reaction. We all want the same thing for our children, to be happy, healthy and successful in everything they do. As another school year begins here are some things you can try to create calmness in your life and help you connect to your children.

-Self-Compassion: Identify and acknowledge any feelings/emotions that arise without judgment.
-Recognize that things are temporary.
-Focus on your breath. Stop, take a breath, observe and then proceed. Taking this short pause, even for 10 seconds, is the best tool for calming the body and allowing us space to choose how we respond in any given situation.
-Breathing Buddy: Have your child use their favorite stuffed toy. Have your child lie down on their back and place the breathing buddy on their belly.  The breathing buddy will rise and fall with with each breath. You can count to three on the inhale and back down on the exhale to encourage slow breathing.
-Be present. The most important thing our children want from us is our attention. Put down the cell phone, turn off the TV, stop what you are doing, and just be with your child. Listen to what your child has to say with your undivided attention.

Above all, remember that we do the best we can each day with the knowledge that we have. The focus of mindfulness is to bring awareness to aspects of our daily lives so we can make decisions that minimize stress and create greater balance in our lives and the lives of our children. It takes courage, effort and patience but by developing a mindfulness practice we can continue to grow along with our children.

Maura Fox has been in the field of education for over 30 years. She has experience with students on the autism spectrum, emotional/behavioral, ADHD and executive function disorders as well as language/learning/ reading disabilities. As a Certified Mindfulness Educator, she has taught mindfulness to school students K-12, and educators, parents and adults wanting to learn a different way of being. See her November 17th One big roof workshop on our cAlendar.

The Four Immeasurables

From the Desk of Pierre Zimmerman, MS
THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES OR GATELESS GATES

Bee-image

I wanted to share with you four intentions that are part of lay Buddhist practice to better be connected with others and share our deepest humanity. During the summer we tend to gather and visit friends, families and acquaintances and these intentions always come in handy in small or large groups.
Loving kindness is love with no strings attached or any particular agenda, just the pure, innocent wish for others and oneself to be content.
Compassion is the highest spiritual ideal of wishing other sentient beings to be free from suffering. The Tibetan word for compassion means “king of hearts.”
Sympathetic joy is experiencing happiness for someone else’s contentment, well being, successes and good fortune.
Equanimity is staying calm and centered, no matter what life throws at us; pleasure and pain, success and failure, praise and blame, fame and disrepute. It lets us relate in a deep way with friends, relatives and strangers.
Each of the four immeasurable has an opposite:
For loving kindness it is ill will or harmful intent,
For compassion it is cruelty,
For sympathetic joy it is envy or jealousy, and
For equanimity it is greed, aversion, prejudice.
Setting these four intentions sustains our energy and purpose to live in alignment with our best aspirations and wishes for ourselves and others. May it be so!
PIERRE ZIMMERMAN IS DIRECTOR OF ONE BIG ROOF AND AN INSTRUCTOR WITH THE SARATOGA STRESS REDUCTION PROGRAM.

Hiroshima Day 71st Commemoration Ceremony

Grafton Peace Pagoda Saturday August 6, 2016

Hiroshima Day
71st Commemoration Ceremony

Everyone is welcome to commit to peace and never again using weapons of mass destruction. Let us come together to create world peace one step at a time. Let us find ways to heal the earth and all beings. We must have no enemies and become the enemy of none.

6:30 PM walk from Grafton Town Square to Peace Pagoda (4.3 miles) Pagoda Pagoda2016HiroshimaDay
8:00 PM Program of Peace

– Ceremonial Lighting of Lanterns
– Interfaith Prayers for Peace
– Musical Offerings
– Speakers/Readings
– Fire Hoop Dance

Rain or shine. Please wear weather-appropriate clothes and bring a flashlight and insect repellant. You may also want a blanket.

Please contact the Peace Pagoda to participate: For more information please call the Grafton Peace Pagoda between 7:30 AM and 4:30 PM (518) 658-9301